informa
/
Healthcare
Commentary

Prediction No. 9: The Watchword in 2006 Will Be Sustainability

Every organization subject to regulatory compliance needs it; every vendor of compliance tools promises it; so achieving it is a piece of cake, right?
Every organization subject to regulatory compliance needs it; every vendor of compliance tools promises it; so achieving it is a piece of cake, right?

Unfortunately, when the "it" in question is a sustainable, automated compliance management framework, its existence has been a bit hit and miss. The main problem with a promise like sustainability is that it means something different to nearly all organizations, not to mention nearly all vendors of IT products and services.

Sustainable compliance can mean the ability of a tool to easily integrate changing requirements and add new policies and controls processes, and add new stakeholders to the workflow. It can also mean the tools are built using open standards and deployed in a services oriented architecture (SOA). An SOA can also ensure reuse of the software for several different regulatory compliance and risk management initiatives.Still others consider sustainability to include the ability to tie compliance tasks with decision support and executive information systems, while others preach that sustainability is more of a training issue, governed by the ability to foster a culture of compliance throughout an organization.

And finally there is the more grandiose notion that sustainability requires a common "compliance platform" where all electronic data/records are monitored, assessed and retained according to policies set forth by the organization or regulatory body.

You can already see where this is going. Sustainability can and often does comprise all of the above. Ultimately, sustainability is an end user goal, not a feature of a product or service. Sustainability is driven by the need reduce the ongoing cost of compliance activities. Most often, but not always, involves automating repetitive tasks.

And sometimes achieving sustainability means just figuring stuff out, discovering inefficient or risky practices and putting new controls in place.

Nevertheless, sustainability will be the buzzword for the compliance landscape in 2006. It's a good word. Define it for yourself.

Editor's Choice
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor